Skip to Main Content

Cabinet of American Illustration: Magazine and Book Illustration Drawings, 1880-1930 (Library of Congress)

Searching & Viewing the Collection

This section describes how digitized versions of nearly all images from the Cabinet of American Illustration can be viewed through the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog and how the drawings can be viewed in person in the Prints & Photographs Reading Room.

Viewing Images Online

The Cabinet of American Illustration contains more than four thousand original drawings by American book, magazine, and newspaper illustrators, made primarily between 1880 and 1910. Most items have accompanying digital images.

Search Tips for the Collection

Edward Penfield, artist. The doughboys make good. 1918. Cabinet of American Illustration. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

Search tips

You can search by many aspects of the drawings:

  • Artist Names, e.g.: Charles Dana Gibson, Elizabeth Shippen Green (Elliott), John Held, Jr., Jessie Willcox Smith. (An alphabetical "Browse by Names" is also available.)
  • Subjects: e.g. Animals; Beauty; Dance; Caricatures; Cartoons (Commentary); Forests; Men; Older People; Spanish-American War, 1898; Uncle Sam (Symbolic character); World War, 1914-1918; Women, names of people. (An alphabetical "Browse by Subjects" is also available.)
  • Formats: e.g. book illustration; cartoon; charcoal drawing; ink drawing; periodical illustration; watercolor. poster, drawing, lithograph, cartoon, etc. (An alphabetical "Browse by Formats" is also available.)
  • Publication titles: Although not available for every drawing, often the title of the article and the name of the publication in which the drawing appeared is recorded in notes, e.g., Harper's Magazine, Saturday Evening Post.

When you find a catalog record relevant to your research, it can be useful to click on the names of artists or individuals, subject headings (e.g. Dance), or format in that record in order to find related images. You can also include “NOT” to reduce irrelevant results.

*See the search tips section of the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog "help" document for additional pointers.

*The Cabinet of American Illustration descriptions and images are also included in the Library-wide search system, which may include related materials from other collections.

Viewing Drawings in the Reading Room

Researchers who are able to visit on site may request to view drawings by submitting a call slip in the reading room. We generally request that for drawings already digitized at high resolution, researchers first look at the highest resolution file (tiff file) to gain as much visual information as possible, before making a request to view an original, as retrieving and refiling fragile drawings puts added wear and tear on them. Please contact us in advance if you want to see more than 15 drawings on a single day.